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Geriatric Specialists from Singapore Learn About Acute Care for Elders

It may not take a village to take care of the acutely ill older patient, but it definitely takes a team.


Five geriatric specialists from Singapore recently spent two days touring University of Wisconsin Hospital to learn more about the Acute Care for Elders (ACE) consult team's approach to treating older patients, an approach that relies heavily on a team concept.


Singapore visitThe visitors included Dr. Reshma Merchant, an assistant professor and head of general medicine at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, and four representatives from the National University Hospital: Noreza Sailani, nurse manager of the medical/geriatric ward, Koh Meijiao, a geriatric nurse clinician, Lin Wiwei, an occupational therapist and Chai Chee Pei, a physiotherapist.


Dr. Michael Siebers, a geriatrician and associate professor of medicine at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health and medical director for the Acute Care for Elders program, said the Singapore visitors were shown how the ACE Interdisciplinary Consult Team assures top quality care for elderly patients who are hospitalized. They also looked at the research and teaching activities of the Division of Geriatrics.


"The ACE team consists of an Advanced Practice Nurse, social worker, pharmacist, a physical therapist and the geriatrician," he said. "The use of a team for the care of older adults is widely accepted in geriatrics as state of the art. The guests from Singapore were interested in how the ACE team works together to improve patient care."


"The hospitals in Singapore are larger and more crowded, but the geriatrics group at the National University Health System is committed to quality care for older adults and is looking for ways to strengthen their interdisciplinary team," he added. "In Singapore, there will be a large explosion in the aging population in the next 15 years. The number of older adults will increase from nine percent of the population to 20 percent. This is similar to the aging of the American population."


Maria Brenny-Fitzpatrick, nurse practitioner for Acute Care for Elders, also spent time with the visitors as they reviewed team processes, guidelines and practices.


"It was a positive experience and affirmed that we are doing things well," she said. "You always learn from each other and that's what we did."


Dr. Merchant said she was impressed by the hospital's commitment and dedication to helping older patients, and the ongoing research concerning sleep disorders and swallowing problems that often strike the aged.


"Everyone was very passionate about patient care, and I learned a lot about the hospital's very structured, multi-disciplinary approach toward helping older patients," she said.


Sailani agreed that visiting UW Hospital and watching how it provides medical treatment to older individuals was very educational.


"It was an eye opener," she said. "You get a lot of knowledge by observing and interacting with fellow clinicians. We saw a few practices that I think we can bring back to Singapore and adapt to our local setting."


In their spare time, the visitors were also able to do some sightseeing in Madison including visits to the UW Memorial Union and the State Street shopping district. They were also fascinated by Madison's ice-covered lakes, something they have never seen in Singapore because temperatures are summer-like throughout the year.

Date Published: 02/27/2012

News tag(s):  global health

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Geriatric Specialists from Singapore Learn About Acute Care for Elders

Last updated: 02/06/2015
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